Necromunda: Helot Chaos Cults
Updated: Jan 16
Greetings one and all,
In the dark of the hive, in hidden spaces, the Helot Chaos Cults gather to perform their profane rituals. Men and women, line workers, the downtrodden masses of Necromundan society all can be found in these dark cults. But, what brings them here? What is their goal? Well read on and find out.
Helots are born from the labouring masses of Necromunda. They work hard, soul crushing jobs most of their life, with their only likely reward being death. But even then a respectful rest is denied to them, as their bodies are ground down into corpse starch to continue feeding the masses. So is it any wonder why people are led into congregations worshipping something that will give them even the faintest hint of freedom? After all, soul-crushed vulnerable human minds are the perfect fertile ground for the dark influences of chaos and its hellish Gods to creep into.
As a result of this drudgery, like many hive worlds Necromunda suffers from the emergence of Chaos Cults. They are an ever present problem that the establishment has never been able to wipe out permanently, even when Lord Helmwar has seen fit to have his Palanite Enforcer Squads wipe out entire levels of the hive at times to try and stop the spread. But the thing is though, when you have nothing to truly live for and death is all you can look forward to as a reward, you no longer fear it. So it’s little wonder why such cults are ever-prevalent within such hives, as when a stranger comes into your community preaching of freedom, fellowship, and what the fruit of your labours could actually bring you from an alternative perspective, it’s not hard to see why people would be so easily be tempted to listen, and to follow.
Before long these Helot are meeting in secret, in forgotten places, conducting dark rituals in the name of their Dark Gods. They create profane spaces of worship, often filing down stolen cogs into the eight pointed star of their new masters to show sign of their allegiance. And as time goes on, these Helots recruit new members and slowly gather arms, waiting patiently for the day where they will shake off the shackles of oppression they bare and tear down the oppressive system that crushes them. Meanwhile, the upper echelons of the hive send their troops to seek out cursed sites, places covered in the symbols of the Dark Gods, in an almost futile attempt to subdue them before they can rise.
In these places of worship though, where they plaster the walls with their symbols of devotion to the dark gods whom promise them salvation, is where these Helots plan to try and break a hole into the warp and let the glories of chaos flood in, ushering a time of blood and madness to the hive that will finally end their oppression. But the timing of this uprising is a dangerous balance; too soon, and the cult won’t have the strength to fight, but too late and the overwhelming power of the Palanite Enforcers will discover the location of their cult and crush them before they can act. Either way, death is a certainty, and all the cults make this nihilistic spirit a core part of the beliefs.
Should every Helot die in the uprising, the demagogue will certainly have gained glory for the dark gods. It’s only a matter of time before the chaos is enabled to spread.
As with other secondary gangs of Necromunda, the Helot Chaos Cultists only have a small pool of gang member types to make up a full crew. They lack a Juve class entirely, having a unique Cultist member instead. Fitting, really, for a gang born of chaos to not conform to the usual kind of rosta.
These are the Leaders of the cult, and they are okay I guess. Demagogues have average stats but they lack the ability to take any kind of heavy weapons to utilise their +3 Ballistic and Weapon Skills. Personally, I’d run them as either a hands off Overseer, as you need them to not be in recovery at any point in order to perform their gangs special rules of Dark Rituals (which you’ll want to do as often as you can), or as a long range leader by maybe giving them a grenade launcher and the overwatch skill. Both should keep your Demagogue away from combat, or at least the front line, and ergo, keep them safe.
The Champion of the Helot Cults, Disciples have a stat line that screams ranged weapons (seriously, Weapon Skill +4 and Ballistic Skill +3; it’s a no brainer). You could go the way of the Demagogue above and give them a grenade launcher and the overwatch skill for maxim flexibly and damage, or if you want some real range, a heavy stubber and the nerves of steel skill would make for a great combo too. Just don’t tool them up for close combat, it’s a waste.
This cultist is more or less another Champion, though it’s a pretty poor one. Their stat line is about as bad as a Helot Cultist, but it’s ok where it counts. What’s good about the Witch though is that they’re Psykers (which I'll discuss further in the special rules section), but bear in mind you can only have one per gang, and they cost 70 credits. They have a Willpower of +6, meaning their Wyrd Power will go off fairly reliably, and they also have access to the group activation rule (for what it’s worth?). Overall though, the Witch is a bit weak, even with the Wryd Powers. The best thing they can do is use Dark Shield to improve saving rolls of those within 3 inches of them, which is handy in its own way.
These Gangers are the massed bodies of the cult, and to be frank, their cheap at only 35 credits each, they have an okay statline with +4 for their Weapon and Ballistic Skills, and they have access to autoguns. These are basically just bodies to throw at your opponent; but built right, you will outnumber your opponent by a large margin and there's something to be said for that amount of basic firepower.
All of the rules for building and running a Helot Chaos Cults can be found in the appropriately named Book of ruin.
Dark Ritual is a special action you can take in the post battle phase, and it works basically like this.
Pick one random ganger to be the rituals focus (this can’t be the Demagogue or Witch, they know better)
Roll 2D6 and apply modifiers, there are both positive and negative ones; if you roll higher than 9, good for you. You gain the Gods favour and the ganger who was the focus gains 6XP. If you rolled 2 or lower, you lose the favour of the God you had and you lose the ganger too. On the upside, you’ve gained a Chaos Spawn (best hope that the focus was a Helot and not a Disciple)
The favours you can get from these rituals are as follows;
Khorne, the Blood God
Re-roll a single failed Wound Roll each round.
Chaos Spawn gain +1 Strength.
Demagogue gains +1 base Attack.
Slaanesh, the Dark Prince
Once per round, can activate two fighters instead of one, regardless of Group Activation ability and distance apart.
Chaos Spawn rolls two d6 for determining Movement, and chooses the highest.
Demagogue gains +2” Movement.
Nurgle, the Plague Lord
Re-roll a single Recovery roll each End Phase.
Chaos Spawn gain +1 Toughness.
Demagogue gains +1 Wound.
Tzeentch, the Architect of Fate
Once per round, a fighter may ignore all negative modifiers when shooting.
Chaos Spawn gains a 4+ Armour Save.
Demagogue gains a random Wyrd Power.
As you can see, some of these are rather nice. Personally I think Khorne and Tzeentch's blessings are the strongest, being able to re-roll a single wound each round can mean the difference between life and death (literally), while the +4 save for your Spawn makes it really tanky. On the mention of our lump of mutated flesh though, we’d best talk about the Chaos Spawn.
The Chaos Spawn has a lot going for it, but it also carries a lot of randomness to it too. Let's start with the good thing about it; it's free. That's right, free (minus the cost of the poor schmuck that got turned into it, though). It has the potential to be a really powerful beast on the table. The bad thing about it though, is that unfortunately, “you” have to roll for its stats. This can be great if you roll really well, but if you don’t, you could be stuck with a slow, useless pile of silme. But then again, that's the fun of Chaos! Also, you will have to roll to see if your gang can recapture the spawn at the end of the battle, because on a failed roll, the spawn flees into the Underhive, never to be seen again; but only after wounding the cultist sent to recapture it. Chaos is fun like that…
Moving on, as mentioned previously, the Cult Witch is a psyker and so gets access to Wryd Power, but honestly, these are all subpar at best. The only noticeable exception is the power Dark shield, which adds +1 to Save Rolls to all friendly models within 3 inches of the Witch for the rest of the round. The rest are as follows; Scouring: which basically gives your Witch a flamer; Levitation: increases movement by 3 inches, you can float upwards and you are immune to falling and falling damage; Warp Strength: +2 Strength and close combat attacks do +1 Damage (though considering the Witch is absolutely awful in combat, why would this ever be useful?); Maddening Visions: enemies that fail a Willpower check go insane; and lastly, Assail: this pushes a fighter within 12 inches of the Witch D3 inches away (basicly a really weak fus ro dah). They seem amazing on the surface, but once you really take a look at these powers in relation to the statline of the Witch, the Wyrd Powers unfortunately leave much to be desired.
Unfortunately as only a secondary gang, the Helot Chaos Cultists don’t get a boxset of models to enable you to easily pick-up-and-play this gang. But this doesn’t mean you can’t play Chaos at all, because Warhammer already has a lot of Chaos established in its universe. So when it comes to cobbling together some models to be able to play this gang, you’ve got some options; you could use any human models and convert them a little, you could use the Cultists of the Abyss models for Black Stone Fortress, or even the Chaos Space Marine cultist models. The choice is yours, really.
The Helot Chaos Cult does have some good points to it. They can field huge numbers of basic Helots that can swarm your opponent, while they can gain some nice bonuses from the Dark Gods and can even have a spawn for free. That said, the Wryd Powers kinda suck (bar Dark Shield) which is pretty sad considering the powers they worship. Not an awful gang, overall but I think they would struggle in a campaign in the latter stages.
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